Monday, December 22, 2008

Cafe Leona Restaurant: Home of the Authentic Ilocos Recipes!

It is never a complete experience of an Ilocos tour (that is if you are planning to go there, especially this holiday season) if you haven't tasted an authentic Ilocano dish served right at your very own plate. But where can we find a real Ilocandia dish? Where else, but here at Cafe Leona Restaurant located at the front of Calle Crisologo in Heritage Village, Vigan, Ilocos Sur!

Cafe Leona is restaurant named after the great icon of Ilocos Sur, Leona Florentino. She is a world renowned poet, writer and playwright during her time. Because of her Ilocano ancestry and iconic state, the management of the restaurant had decided to name their restaurant Cafe Leona, well, aside from it's location near the Leona Florentino Plaza at the front of Heritage Village in Ilocos Sur.

• And so the mark reads...

Leona Florentino

Leona Florentino was born on April 19, 1848 and was a famous Ilocana poet, satirist and playwright during the Spanish Period. Through her exemplary works, she was able to gain international recognition. She is the daughter of Marcelino and Isabel Florentino. Her works were translated in different languages but the original copies were destroyed during the Philippine Revolution. Don Isabelo de los Reyes, the Father of Philippine Labor Movement, is her son.

She died on October 4, 1884, leaving a legacy to the Filipino people as the most outstanding woman writer during the Spanish era.

• Cafe Leona's exterior is made up of Spanish-styled wooden doors with glasses in between.

• Same goes with it's interior to feel the authenticity of the Spanish regime with a little touch of Ilocos culture. When we went inside this restaurant, we thought of an Spanish-Italian ristorante in Milan. Yeah, baby! Milan... but it's Cafe Leona... and I am not kidding! :D

• We ordered three of Cafe Leona's most delicious and most famous dishes — bagnet, clam soup and sizzling seafood! Yum yum! No words can describe them! (The clam soup is said to be their diningdeng dish, but I doubt it... diningdeng is a mixed vegetable dish, similar to pinakbet!)

• Sizzling seafood... hmmm.. I can still smell the chillis... I remember I copied this dish at home using my palate brain... maybe I can post the recipe here some other time! Hahahhah.... :D

So, if you are going to Ilocos Sur anytime soon this holiday season, it is never too late to book that flight ticket and experience Ilocos! You may want to take off that winter hat and coat because it ain't going to snow there, ever, because of its geographical location!

Want to experience more of my Ilocos tour and discover the beauty of Ilocos province? Why don't you subscribe now to my feeds or receive email alerts for FREE by dropping your email in the box below this post? Recipes and Ilocos churches are coming up soon... so better stick around for that!

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